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Quick TIps | Creating a professional Portfolio for Illustration and Concept Art




Hey everyone! This was a topic brought up alot by viewers on the stream and I wanted to atleast get a few broad ideas across. They may seem pretty basic but I see alot of portfolios come across my desk that don’t follow a few simple things. In this era, almost all portfolios are digital and sent to someone online.

I hope any of it can help you take a look at your own, and possibly improve it some! 🙂

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  • Hello! Thank you for the video, the first tip was the most helpful to me! I would like to ask you a question. You recommend using ArtStation and you've also mentioned that it's best suitable for finished art pieces, how do I include sketches, breakdowns, etc? The university I want to go to has a list of things they want to see in the student's portfolio's. Do I add them in the same post as polished pieces? Will they find them there? Or do I simply post them separately as they ask? It may be a little off the subject, since the video is about applying for a job but I failed to find the answer anywhere. Thanks in regards!


  • Some advice here is good within certain parameters, but at the same time this exposes a few ridiculous realities that are more a result of artists being slave-like pussies rather than creative and ballsy individuals.

    One’s ability to grasp and apply the fundamentals with consistency ought to be enough. This logic that one ought to be dickriding Wizards of the Coast or Blizzard doesn’t do good to anyone but these companies, because this guarantees them they are getting imbeciles that want to be slaves for them rather than professionals to do work for them.

    As a result these artists don’t develop their individuality, especially within the company, are more dependent on working for their chosen company because what are they gonna do if they are fired, and lastly all they can do when they are 100% the same as anyone else within the company is be good yes-men kissing the boss’s ass hoping that will get the raise or promotion instead of the skills.

    Think about it. How often do you see Blizzard posting they need entry level artists? It’s always mid or senior artists and art directors. Are we supposed to believe they have no one willing to take up the job who is also in the company, knows the ropes, the style and the people? Of course not, but how can anyone trust to one of their internal staff a job of this type when they are all indiscernible?

    This corporatist logic applied to the very last has also resulted in all games and movies looking the same, because you no longer have artists who are individuals looking to work as professionals with their own voice, but fans of products who want to slave over them and create fan fiction.

    So, despite the advise being solid, I think it’s high time younger artists take different advice.


  • So does that mean I should use something like Instagram to archive cut pieces/ upload art that I created but isn't on the level of my portfolio?


  • Never knew artstation was a thing.


  • ohpoorromeo my artstation – check my works plz


  • How can we tailor our work for certain companies if we present our portfolio on ArtStation that’s being shared to multiple companies when applying to jobs?


  • Hi, Dave. I've been primarily doing graphic design in the past. Recently I've been taking my notes and sketches for a personal project which is more in the realm of concept design. As you can imagine there's a technical barrier while learning the new software evolved. Even if the design is solid, the images are still quite rough in presentation. Would you suggest not presenting the work publicly, until I have something more polished? OR is it a good idea to just show where I'm at then cull posts as your work improves as you said in the video?


  • ADLADL

    Author Reply

    How would you present your portfolio when applying to multiple companies with different styles? For example Blizzard vs Wizards of the Coast – there's definitely overlap, but not really sure if I should create new art that is tailored to one or the other – or do a blend of sorts.


  • Hey, I have been told by my teachers that you shouldn't add artwork that has characters from preexisting tv shows or comics etc. in your portfolio. I noticed that you have a digital painting of Samus in yours, so I am wondering when is it acceptable to add such paintings in a portfolio? Do all paintings in a portfolio have to be 100% original works?


  • 5:43 Again, poor advice. If your clients are visually savvy art directors, they want to see your thought process. Because you will be sending thumbnails for approval prior to executing a piece.


  • 5:05 again….poor advice here. Very poor advice. Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coasts. They don't have a style. Actually look at the cards before speaking, man. ._.


  • 4:33 This is not great advice. Highly questionable you have even dealt with recruiters or staff at Blizzard to even say this. Reality is, Blizzard wants SUBJECT matter related to their game. Orcs and Space Marines in your portfolio. When you see their cinematics at Blizzard, it is PHOTOREAL! !!! If someone sees you like the subject matter, and have applied, they will take it from there. Your portfolio is not dismissed based on cartoon or photoreal when it comes to Blizzard.


  • Art Station is HORRIBLE. Better to have your own URL. Build your own brand! You set up an Art Station portfolio you are building the Art Station brand.


  • Do you want to do illustration work for children's books? 😉


  • Thanks Dwave Gweco


  • Which art school did you go to?


  • ARG I was looking forward to portfolio reviews and then i totally missed it x_x RIP


  • Would traditional artists who apply into the industry be lower than someone who is digital?


  • Was really helpful thanks Dave.


  • Hey, thank you so much for those advices ! I haven't find my own style yet, so I've a little question : What shoult I put in my portfolio if I don't target any special company ? I mean, if I like to draw many styles, and I don't realy care if a company wants me to draw this or this style. Should I show everything, should I group artworks by style, should I show each style on a different plateform, or should I just put the most popular style ? ^^


  • InvisInvis

    Author Reply

    Think you can go over rendering different materials like metal?


  • Great video, Dave!


  • Hi Dave! First of all thanks so much for all the work you've been putting here on youtube and on twitch, it is very inspiring and helpful. What is your advice for people who aim to work on some of the bigger projects in the industry but their skill level isn't quite there yet? Should they send sample work just in case they might respond with some feedback or try to get their attention via uploading to ArtStation, and hope to get feedback that way?


  • Hi Dave. Thanks for your tutorials. I get a lot out of them. A Question about Artstation. Do you recommend having multiple pieces under one image or just a single image for each at the top level (so nothing is hidden or has to be drilled down into)? Thanks.


  • thank you dave! i really appreciate your help and kindness. I discovered you through crowfall and got a big fan. You gave me inspiration and motivation to work on my own art. You are my art-related idol. Sadly i can't watch your stream cause usually it is about 4 am at my place :/ but i'm looking forward to every video you will upload.


  • Yo so like, I understand being "good enough" is just poor mentality, but realistically a better question would be "am I fast enough?"
    Cause Ive only been drawing for about a year and i can probably clean some stuff up. Ive only been drawing and i dont know how to render quite just yet, but if i were to make a finished art piece id probably take a few days to even render out a character design hmmm…


  • Thank you so much for this video! I've heard it's better to show the "portfolio" website on Artstation, rather than the regular one. You can play with the website builder and change the layout of the site a bit, so that the images would be shown as their regular format(vertical/horizontal). Opening every single artwork on the regular site or judging it by the square crop can scare off a lot of ppl:)
    Dave, would you consider making a portfolio review ?:) Have a great day!


  • COOL


  • Awesome – thanks man!


  • This video made me finally post my first piece to my artstation account. Thank you Dave!


  • Hello, Dave. Thank you for the video. I have a question. What would you recommend to increase visibility of my artworks on Artstation. It makes no sense to me that I can get hundreds of views with simple prop art and at the same time barely make double digits with more complex scenery or concept art. And I'm not talking about likes – I'm pretty neutral about that. So it feels like any of my new art is only visible for the first 10 mins or so while it still is on top of the 'latest' page and then it get's covered by other pieces and there's no way for others to see it and potentially like it to bump it up on the 'trending' page. And if I don't have like 1k followers I can't count on that either. I know some artists just spam comments of well known artists with stuff like 'check out my gallery' and such, but I don't want to go that rout. Maybe you have some other solution. Thank you.


  • Hey Dave, would you include more design breakdowns in your portfolio that you send to studios? On your Artstation profile I see a lot of flashy nice stuff, but not so much of the exploration stuff like silhouettes, sketches, variations and so on. Thank you for the videos!


  • LeonWLeonW

    Author Reply

    beautiful facial expression on the thumbnail haha as always very helpful, hope to be able to watch your stream again one day 🙂 I've been recommending your tutorials all over my facebook groups I'm in^^


  • wooooh love this, i was just thinking about making one thanks dave <3

    -ironjwolf


  • Thank you❤


  • thank you Dave! I've recently discovered you through your artstation portfolio and now I'm a big fan of your art. I'd love to hear more from you about the market and working for big companies…
    thanks a lot once again and I love your art and style! Best regards


  • Thank you so much for this video, Dave !!


  • Thanks!!!


  • Thank you. 🙂